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Supersets - pre-exhaustion vs. antagonist/unrelated movements

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  • Supersets - pre-exhaustion vs. antagonist/unrelated movements

    Hi,

    so I noticed that at some point in the BB template the use of supersets of antagonist/unrelated movements for the upper body are programmed. In the next block this remains essentially unchanged but supersets in the form of pre-exhaustion are added for the lower body exclusively.

    Is there a specific reason for not using pre-exhaustion for the upper body as well (e.g. flyes supersetted with some kind of bench pressing)? Would this make sense as a modification in a later stage/block or is this a bad idea and why? Unfortunately I haven't found much info on pre-exhaustion etc. in the PDF either but I find the concept really interesting and would like why it's programmed the way it is (especially the different use between lower and upper body).

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Great question!

    In general, I think it's much harder to do antagonist supersets for the lower body given that there is quite a bit of overlap across movements. Thus, I thought pre-exhaustion would be the best tool here for increasing stimulus without much increase in fatigue (that's the goal anyway).

    If I had a 4th block, I would probably put some pre-exhaustion in there as well for the upper body and, perhaps, another training day.
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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    • #3
      Thanks Jordan!

      Now that you're saying it it makes total sense that pre-exhaustion is actually a way to reduce fatigue while increasing stimulus because you'll need to reduce weight. Cool, I think I'll like this! One more quick question if you don't mind since you mentioned it: would another training day incorporate more chest/shoulder work? I'm asking because I did notice in comparison to some of the other templates (even the strength focused ones) that there are less upper body pressing movements, which here have been traded for more back work.

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      • #4
        That's interesting. Hypothetically, if you did add in another training day for a fourth block, would it still obey that upper/lower split formula (like as in an exclusive upper or lower body day) or would it be a full-body day to sort of more equitably dose training stress?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jwls View Post
          Thanks Jordan!

          Now that you're saying it it makes total sense that pre-exhaustion is actually a way to reduce fatigue while increasing stimulus because you'll need to reduce weight. Cool, I think I'll like this! One more quick question if you don't mind since you mentioned it: would another training day incorporate more chest/shoulder work? I'm asking because I did notice in comparison to some of the other templates (even the strength focused ones) that there are less upper body pressing movements, which here have been traded for more back work.
          The frequency is a little less, but the volume is more. If I added an extra day, it would likely be an arm/shoulder day.
          Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
          ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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          • #6
            Originally posted by goreblox View Post
            That's interesting. Hypothetically, if you did add in another training day for a fourth block, would it still obey that upper/lower split formula (like as in an exclusive upper or lower body day) or would it be a full-body day to sort of more equitably dose training stress?
            Probably another upper day.
            Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
            ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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            • #7
              Ah, that makes sense.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

                The frequency is a little less, but the volume is more. If I added an extra day, it would likely be an arm/shoulder day.
                Hmm am I missing something? In the BB template there are only 2 slots for horizontal pressing and 1 for chest isolation (like flyes) - each for usually 4 sets. That doesn't seem that much to me, at least compared to some other templates.

                Strength III for example has one horizontal pressing slot each day (so not counting high-incline DB presses) which are basically 4 heavy/main slots and each for something like 5-6 sets. Sure the rep range is more in the 4-5s but I don't think that it makes that much of a difference - the chest and triceps sure get blasted with all the volume in the Strength III template. Plus I think Hypertrophy II is also very similarly set up but obviously with similar rep ranges as the BB template.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jwls View Post

                  Hmm am I missing something? In the BB template there are only 2 slots for horizontal pressing and 1 for chest isolation (like flyes) - each for usually 4 sets. That doesn't seem that much to me, at least compared to some other templates.

                  Strength III for example has one horizontal pressing slot each day (so not counting high-incline DB presses) which are basically 4 heavy/main slots and each for something like 5-6 sets. Sure the rep range is more in the 4-5s but I don't think that it makes that much of a difference - the chest and triceps sure get blasted with all the volume in the Strength III template. Plus I think Hypertrophy II is also very similarly set up but obviously with similar rep ranges as the BB template.
                  Why don't you think that makes much difference? I assure you there is plenty of volume for most folks with respect to upper body training.
                  Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                  ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

                    Why don't you think that makes much difference? I assure you there is plenty of volume for most folks with respect to upper body training.
                    Strength III vs BB: yeah sure there might be a difference in e.g. 6x 4-5 @8 vs. 4x 10-12 @8 in terms hypertrophy. But even if the latter were that much more effective, when you factor in that in SIII you're doing a bench type movement like that 4x per week then that really factors in heavily on total volume. It's 24x 4-5 vs. 12x 10-12 per week (and a third of the latter is also just an isolation type exercise).

                    Hypertrophy vs BB: essentially the same as above but here we also get roughly the same rep ranges in both, so even the rep range argument is moot. But here too I should mention: I'm not saying it's better, just more in terms of volume. Hell it might even be more bench volume than necessary.

                    So I'm not saying it's too little volume in BB - I should've probably mentioned that before as well. Just less than e.g. the Strength III or Hypertrophy template. And it's somehow understandable as the BB template also adds exercises for body parts that are not getting so much exposure in the other templates, especially the back but also calves, rear shoulder, etc. whereas the others are still heavily focused on powerlifting and the big three. This observation though led me to the question if the additional training day in a later phase would consist of more chest/shoulder, that's all.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jwls View Post

                      Strength III vs BB: yeah sure there might be a difference in e.g. 6x 4-5 @8 vs. 4x 10-12 @8 in terms hypertrophy. But even if the latter were that much more effective, when you factor in that in SIII you're doing a bench type movement like that 4x per week then that really factors in heavily on total volume. It's 24x 4-5 vs. 12x 10-12 per week (and a third of the latter is also just an isolation type exercise).

                      Let's restrict it to top sets only. That changes your numbers and, additionally, we'd expect a strength program for an individual to have quite a bit of volume.

                      Originally posted by jwls View Post

                      Hypertrophy vs BB: essentially the same as above but here we also get roughly the same rep ranges in both, so even the rep range argument is moot. But here too I should mention: I'm not saying it's better, just more in terms of volume. Hell it might even be more bench volume than necessary.
                      Why do you think there needs to be more volume when other factors change? This was the question I alluded to before.

                      Originally posted by jwls View Post

                      So I'm not saying it's too little volume in BB - I should've probably mentioned that before as well. Just less than e.g. the Strength III or Hypertrophy template.
                      Eh, I wouldn't say that, no.


                      Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
                        Let's restrict it to top sets only. That changes your numbers and, additionally, we'd expect a strength program for an individual to have quite a bit of volume.
                        If you leave out the @7 sets it's still something like 20 sets of @8-9s per week.


                        Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
                        Why do you think there needs to be more volume when other factors change? This was the question I alluded to before.
                        I don't think that. That's why I said "I'm not saying it's too little volume in BB" before. Just noticed there's less of it than in the other templates mentioned.

                        The different factors I assume were regarding the rep range (4-5s vs 10-12s), because that's what I said above and you must've objected to. So yes, even if the factor "rep range" is different between Strength III and BB and thus possibly the hypertrophy outcome (after all S III is a strength program anyway), that factor doesn't change when comparing the Hypertrophy template to the BB template because the rep ranges are similar.


                        Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
                        Eh, I wouldn't say that, no.
                        OK lets leave the Strength III out of the comparison here because the rep ranges and goals are so different. But how the Hypertrophy template? That's why I said maybe I'm missing something here. IIRC it has considerably more exercises per week (pretty much every training day) targeting the chest but with similar rep/set schemes.

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                        • #13
                          So I think we might be misunderstanding each other here. I just wanted to hear more of your rationale.

                          From a straight-up volume perspective, if we restrict our analysis to only the top sets- hypertrophy II has 19 sets per week that target the chest whereas the BB template has 16-24 depending on the movements selected in addition to the supersets, shoulder work, and arm work. Thus, I feel pretty comfortable about the stimulus imparted here in this context.
                          Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                          ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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